by Shen Min
BANGKOK, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Supreme Court on Friday cleared one big hurdle on the way towards the formation of a new coalition government after it endorsed the validity of the December election and threw out a case that might have led to disbandment of the election winner People Power Party (PPP).
The Court first ruled on the suit brought by New Aspiration Party spokesman Sarawut Thongpen that seeked to nullify the balloting results of the advance and absentee voting during Dec. 15-16 on grounds that the Election Commission (EC) had no mandate to organize the advance polls.
The Supreme Court ruled that the advance voting was valid and that the EC were properly authorized to organize the two-day voting.
The Court later dismissed lawsuits brought by former Democrat Party MP candidate Chaiwat Sinsuwong, who resigned Friday from the party.
Chaiwat had questioned the fairness of the advance voting results and asked the court to rule if the PPP is a proxy for the former ruling party Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) which is disbanded now, and the PPP leader Samak Sundaravej is a nominee for the TRT founder, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
A verdict against the PPP might have led to the disbandment of the party and the validity of the general election.
However, the Court threw out the cases, citing that it has no authority to rule on the proxy case, and that it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide.
The TRT was disbanded on a court verdict on electoral fraud charges last May, and its 111 party executives, including Thaksin, were banned from running for political posts for five years.
Many former TRT members joined the PPP, formerly a fringe party, and its new leader Samak openly voiced his support for the ousted premier Thaksin.
The PPP swept most MP seats -- 233 of the 480 seats in the House of Representatives in the Dec. 23 general election, though by now four elected PPP MPs were disqualified later by the Election Commission on charges of vote-buying.
The rulings by the Supreme Court on Friday cleared the way for the formation of a PPP-led coalition government and the scheduled convening of the first parliament session.
The PPP will officially announce its coalition with five smaller parties to form a new government at a joint press conference on Saturday.
The Democrat Party, second-placed in the election with 165 seats, is to stay as the sole opposition party in the House of Representatives.
On Friday, PPP secretary general Surapong Suebwonglee said the House will convene its first session next Monday, now that the EC has by far certified the electoral victory of 460 MPs to fill the quorum required by the Constitution 2007 to open the parliament.
The EC on Friday endorsed another 26 winning candidates to bring the total number of certified MPs to 460, accounting for more than 95 percent of the total 480 seats in the House, so that the first session can be convened as scheduled.
According to Surapong, the House will choose a House Speaker next Wednesday and a Prime Minister next Friday. The cabinet lineup is to be disclosed in February.